Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Motherhood Changed Me

Some days I don't know myself. Seriously. I look in the mirror and I appear to be the same person. But I am not. Really, I am quite different. Apparently being a mother changes you. Who knew? 

This is my calendar. All those little dots are
what you call organization. This system works,
as long as you put the times in right. Turns out
clarifying AM or PM is key. You're welcome.
I have never in my life been known to have it all together. No one has ever met me and thought, "Wow, she is really slick. I bet she never misses a thing. I bet she always pays all of her bills on time and has never accidentally left her car running for two hours while she went shopping." But being a mother brings a new level to the game. Organization and scheduling on some level are a must. If you cannot at least keep a calendar marking the bare minimum--dance lessons, birthday parties, doctor's appointments--you may as well let your child be raised by wolves. Someone has to know that we need to buy fiber gummies and tomorrow is teacher snack. Someone has to be organized. You don't want to be in the cross hairs of a kid that missed half of a birthday party because you lost the invite. Four year olds don't tolerate that kind of ineptness out of their people.

I have always prided myself on being go-with-the-flow. Chill. Calmish. Once the children entered the world, I became less zen and more shrill. I now use words like schedule and routine and organize. I yell about eating granola bars and brushing teeth. I have to worry about things like knowing what day of the week it is. Tumbling is Wednesdays and if the leotard is dirty a serious emotional reaction is guaranteed. Remember that time Britney Spears shaved her head in the mall? That kind of serious. I have to organize play dates, make sure there is enough formula, and get cash for the field trip.  Running the lives of two other people (actually three if we are being totally honest) makes one's chi a little unbalanced. 

Normally, I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be as happy as possible. Except my children. Turns out I am not a child pleaser. In fact, I am always the first to do something that will make them very very unhappy. Like wear pants. Eat breakfast. Wear clean diapers. Or a seatbelt in the grocery cart. Really mean stuff. And they let me know that I am making them very unhappy. With lots of loud noises and general assholery. There is nothing a child hates more than someone not living every moment to please them. 

I usually dislike when things are too stiff, too strict. I like a little fluidity. Except when it is bedtime. Then I like for everyone to freaking listen to me and stop tickling each other. Stop jumping on the bed. Stop being jovial in general. Just put your pjs on, brush your teeth and get in bed. No being easy. No having fun. Certainly no laughing. Just get your arse in a prostrate position. Now. If you don't my head will blow off and there will be crying. Maybe you, maybe me, maybe all of us. 

I used to be open to discussion. I liked to talk things out. I enjoyed a good hammering out of ideas. Now? There is nothing I enjoy less than a prolonged discussion about pretty much anything. Especially if it involves my child trying to convince me of why my rules are foolish. I say one thing, and she says, "BUT..." and I know things are about to get really ugly unless I shut. It. Down. And then she screams at me, "You are not letting me SPEAK." And I am like, "Oh, you noticed that? Speaking is the opposite of what I want you to be doing." Apparently turning four turns you into Gloria Allred. The child will try to discuss terms for anything and everything. Listen Sister...I didn't get in this game to spend my days negotiating chocolate, dirty shirts, and using a hammer with someone who cries when I make her wear the wrong color hair clip. 

The most interesting part of the sociological study that is parenthood? My husband and I seem to have switched roles. I am now the keeper of the rules. The enforcer. The mean one. I have always been nice, but kids have changed me. I am no longer so concerned with being nice, and more concerned with everyone staying alive. 

I wonder if I will go back to the old me when the kids are out on their own. Or will 20+ years of being this weird Type A hybrid completely squelch my happy-go-lucky-ness? Hopefully, when there are no lunches left to pack and no one to yell at for taking their shoes off in public, I can go back to having sparkly balanced chi and a zest for smiling and spontaneity. Until then, I will be the angry woman wrestling tiny people into coats they don't want to wear while flipping through the fifteen imaginary calendars in my head to remember what the letter of the week is and what day we have flu shots. Actually, I suggest you hold off interacting with me until my late 50's unless you want me to yell at you to finish your dinner and flush the toilet. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

To The Young Hipster Guy...

To the young Hipster who was visibly annoyed when he had to breathe the same air as my children and me at Walmart today...

1. Have you ever had to maneuver a "fun" cart? Do you know how heavy those things are? And how ridiculously long they are? Let me tell you. It's like an extra wide kayak filled with cinderblocks on tiny ill-swiveling wheels. That squeak. And then you fill it with pounds of flailing child and pounds of food. Makes it kind of hard to turn on a dime, mm'kay? Honestly you are lucky I didn't run over your Van slip-ons and break your toes.  Chalk it up to 7,935 trips to mega super stores with my offspring.You are welcome.

2. You have no right to judge anyone. Yes, I am wearing my fat jeans. Yes, I have a sleeping baby attached to my front that is currently filling my cleavage with drool. Yes, I failed to flat iron my hair this morning. But I have two kids that I am trying my best to keep alive. What is your excuse, sir? You are wearing a striped tank and cut off jean shorts. This is Walmart in Greensboro. Not a coffee shop in Brooklyn. When you got ready, were you able to thumb through your tank and flannel collection in peace? Or was there a small person eating a yogurt tube and singing Brother Noah on repeat sitting on your bed? I am guessing the former. Was there someone screaming and pantsing you while you perfected that slicked back rocker hair with the too short sides? I am guessing not. You should have done a lot better considering you probably did all that alone. 

3. My wish for you is to meet a nice girl. And the two of you will get married and decide to have a baby. And at the first ultrasound you will find out it is twins. And then two years later, you try for one more baby. And it is triplets. And then I hope you have to take your FIVE kids and go shopping. And you will see how a trip to Walmart is not only a way to get food and elastic waist pants in the same trip, it is also a way to kill two hours between preschool and dinner. And did I mention it will take you two fun carts to cart all those screamers around?

I know right now you think you are better than me. I am just a tired wife with annoying kids who almost hit you turning down the cereal aisle. But someday, you will be the exhausted parent with kids that won't be quiet and a cart full of cheese sticks and seltzers and cheddar bunnies and a tacky Halloween door sign. And some a-hole who thinks he is a trend setter will roll his eyes at you and your circus on wheels. And then you will truly understand irony.

Monday, August 25, 2014

I Didn't Know

I didn't know it would be this hard. It is just keeping small humans alive. A little food, some milk, water, get them out of the house regularly, and they should be good to go. Right? RIGHT? But it takes so so so much more. It takes backbone, and nerves. Humor. Patience. It takes organization and understanding. It takes love and soul and strength in equal measures. And it takes patience. Did I mention that one? Mad patience.

I didn't know it would be this hard to be a parent and a wife. Being married is work. Being a parent is exhausting. Being a wife and mother at the same time is damn near impossible to evenly and fairly balance. Someone loses out on affection. It is almost always the spouse. I now understand why the weight of children can make the cracks in a relationship spread and separate until the whole is no longer whole, but two parts. It is imperative to find common ground and appreciation to fill those cracks. Make gratitude the cement that repairs those fissures, or at least holds them safely until you can devote the proper time and effort to mend them. If you don't, the responsibility of parenting will weigh so heavy on your relationship that it will be in danger of breaking permanently.

I didn't know it would be this hard to coordinate life for a family. There is preschool, childcare, play dates. That is in addition to the procurement of food, clothing, and other necessities. My entire day is pieced together like a carefully conducted three ring circus. The dancing poodles need shoes, the elephants have tumbling, and the trapeze artist has prescriptions to be picked up. And the entire show is scheduled around work, nap times and meals. 

I didn't know it would be so hard to say no. Saying yes is easy. Yes, I will buy this candy if you will be good. Yes, I will let you stay up late. Yes, I let you run wild instead of walking beside me like a normal person. But there must be some no's. There have to be no's. A lot of them. And they are so much more work. No must have follow through. No must be explained. It is imperative to show that no is serious business. An edict and not a suggestion. It is often unpleasant and ill received. It is never popular. 

I didn't know it would be so exhausting. I didn't know I would cry out of frustration and anger and sheer weariness of life. I didn't know kids are excellent at hurting parent's feelings. I didn't know how lonely it can feel being the one in charge of everyone else's lives.

I am not on the verge of a breakdown. I am actually very happy with my life and my marriage and my family. I am just being honest. It is all very very hard.

But there are other things I didn't know. I didn't know how much I would appreciate having a spouse who has my back and stands by my side. I didn't know how much I would need my friends, nor how much I would appreciate them. I didn't know that one great moment with my child can make up for the 72 terrible moments preceding it. I didn't know seeing my kids laughing together would literally break my heart wide open. I didn't know that being a mom would be like this. But nothing is ever what we think it is going to be. Somethings are better. And some things are so much harder.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Six Days

Six more days. Six. I can do anything for six days, right? 

Summer, we are so so so done. I cannot bear another second of you. I need you to go back where you came from. I need normalcy. I need schedule. I need my child's sanity back. I need MY sanity back. Six. More. Days.

The last weeks of summer are awful. As a mother it ranks up there with the last weeks of being pregnant, the end of Christmas vacation, and the time between starting a sick kid on antibiotics and them going back to school. It all sucks. Big sucks. Not little sucks. Big Big Big ones. The largest of sucks.

My girl is losing her mind. She swings from telling me she loves me
That isn't makeup. That is the warpaint of her people.
It means she will kill someone if they tell her she
can't use the iPad to play the Frozen game. 
to telling me that I am a mean mean mommy. Within like 15 minutes. It is really confusing. She has made me cry three times in the last two weeks. I have cried to my husband. My friends. Even my boss. I never knew a four year old could hurt my feelings. But she does. A lot. Today after I bought her ice cream she got mad and screamed at me in the parking lot of the Teeter that she wanted a new mommy. So I offered to find her one. Instead of making her happy, considering I offered to do exactly what she asked for, it enraged her even more and she started wailing and screaming like I told her that they made all the My Little Ponies in the whole world into dog food and glue. 

I can't decide what about school starting back is most thrilling. Is it the schedule? Cause we haven't seen one of those in a few months. Hello decent bedtime again. I love you. Or is it the fact that I will get some time to myself again? Maybe I can stroll the aisles of Target alone. Or go to the bathroom alone. Or drink a cup of coffee and look at Facebook without someone sitting thisclose to me and asking me who every single person in my feed is. Or maybe it is that I can drop her off and know that she is excited and busy and learning, and I no longer have to meet any of those needs on a minute by minute basis. And when I pick her up she will be tired, happy, and socialized. And she will be excited to see me, instead of annoyed that I am actively trying to keep her from having any fun ever and that I never let her listen to her and that I am so so mean.

So six more days. Six days of frantic texts with friends for play dates. Six days of bad attitude, eye rolling, and whining. Six days of being the mommy punching bag, and then all will be right with the world. Lord help me. I may not make it. And if you see me somewhere in public with tears in my eyes and a child who appears to be having some kind of mental break down, just look the other way. We will be fine in six days.

(Did I mention the wee one is also going to school? Six days. Six days. Six days.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Not Spend the Weekend at the Lake

Me on Friday: "Awesome, we have a weekend away at our friend's lake house! We haven't seen these families in about a year and haven't really hung out in much longer. We are so pumped. There is going to be lots of kids, lots of fun, lots of beers, and lots of catching up."

Except none of that happened. Because we were only there for 27 minutes.

Sometimes road trips are so easy. We pack, fill the car, get everyone situated with DVD players and pacis and water, and hit the road. Then we drive where we are going with minimal stops and no drama. 

Then there are the other times when everything goes wrong and our weekend away dies a fiery death. This past weekend was more like the second one.

We decided at about 11am on Friday to drive to the lake after work instead of waiting until Saturday morning. Hubs got off work early, we packed the car, and then hit the road. First, the dog got dropped of across town at the kennel. Then we went downtown to make a "quick" swing through a store for Hubs to buy a hat he really wanted only to discover they didn't even have the right color in stock. We got back in the car and realized the beloved DVD player was at home on the couch. Not in the car. GO back home and grab the DVD player. Finally get on the road. Head out of town. Cue the crying from a hungry little dude (of course now it is dinner time because it took us an hour and a half to get out of town.) I do car yoga to feed him a bottle. He stops crying for 3.4 minutes, and kicks it to new, more impressively high levels, so I crawl into the backseat and cram my not small self between an infant seat and a booster seat to feed the child puffs, one at a time, to keep him happy until we can stop for dinner. 

30 minutes go by of us passing countless strip motels that I am quite sure numerous people have been murdered in, and I am still sitting on the side of my hip between two kid seats and feeling a little bit panic-attacky. We pull up to a Wendy's and Little Bear finishes up dropping a shadoobie. No problem, we are about to get out. Perfect timing. We pull in, LadyB then puts on her shoes (because actually being ready would be ridiculous.) Hubs and child leave me to pry myself from between the two car seats and balance on the door frame to put my own shoes back on (there are too many blankies and bags to actually put my feet on the floor board) and then hop out of the car. I grab baby and meet the other two in front of the bathrooms. 

And then all hell brakes loose. Hubs looks down and casually says, "there is poop coming out of his diaper." However, this was not a casual amount of poop. Now I know how the people of Pompeii felt when they saw the lava coming and knew it wasn't going to stop. Ever. This is a gushing onslaught of baby-that-is-teething-and-ate-prunes-in-oatmeal-for-breakfast poop. You cannot stop it once it starts oozing. You cannot even hope to contain it. You can only get somewhere fast and lay the child completely flat to quell the seepage. Unless you are at the Wendy's on Highway 29 outside of Danville. Because they don't have a changing table. Really, was that too much out of your bottom line, a-hole who owns this Wendy's? WAS IT?
I felt like you needed a visual. It was like this, but so so so much worse. 
Pause that debacle for one second and let's turn to what is happening with the girl. Right when Daddy points out the poop situation, she grabs her stomach, doubles over, and does a mini barf right on the floor of the Wendy's. Because I am holding the exploding baby, Hubs ushers LadyB into the men's bathroom to try and get her straight. I can hear them scurfuffeling over too much whining and not enough using the bathroom, and I am stranded there with poop everywhere, the baby bag and my purse on the floor. I somehow manage to pick up my bags and I carry the child out a la Rafiki showing Baby Simba off on Pride Rock. If baby Simba was having diarrhea down the front of that wise and colorful baboon. I finally get out to the car, followed by a greenish little girl and an angrievated Dad. We get the epic diaper changed in the back of the car after taking out the cooler full of beer, make HoneyB put her shoes back on and get back out of the car, and I make everyone go back in. I was hungry, dammit. 

Back in the car 13 min later, the girl had eaten only three french fries, mom and dad were full, and baby was asleep. Every 15 minutes we ask her if she feels OK. We are clipping along and all of the sudden a huge bird, I am guessing maybe a pelican or a bald eagle, hit our windshield with a murderous thud, and we all screamed. I may have had a heart attack. I was seriously starting to that this trip was cursed. 

We recover from being part of the bird-suicide-situation. All was back to normal except I could not stop sneaking looks at the Puker until she finally yelled at me to stop looking at her. I now have identified that as barf behavior, along with epic whining. When these two things happen, you are in the hot zone. Lesson learned. At the time we were telling ourselves she just reacted to the lava doodee. I knew down deep it was probably more, but we really wanted this weekend to happen. 

Fast forward an hour and 15 min. We finally pull up to the lake house. Girlfriend spent the previous 30 minutes chugging water. All of the sudden she starts SCREAMING that she has to pee. Like shrill insane banshee style. I am frantically trying to get out of the car because I think she is about to pee her pants and she turns her head to the right and hurls. All. Over. The. Seat. Not to the left, out the door. To the right. Into the car. 

So that was it. Hubs cleaned the car, I cleaned the girl, and then we got back in the car and headed back home. Both kids slept the whole way and we actually spent our time talking to each other.  

Of course, she wasn't sick again, and it probably all would have been fine. Maybe she was car sick, or ate something that didn't agree. But I wasn't running the risk of being patient zero in a house with four other families. Because I don't want people to hate me. 

So instead of an awesome weekend full of playing, and board games, and telling old stories, and drinking lots of beer, we hung around our house and fought a lot and lived out of our suitcases like squatters because we were too lazy to unpack. 

And to really top things off, I just found the bags of barf and poop clothes that got buried in the back of the car. It was like Christmas, if Santa hurled all over your favorite skirt and then pooped up your onesie, and then stored it in plastic bags in your car in August in the South. Happy Holidays to me.

Hopefully the next trip will be more like that first option I mentioned. The one that made no mention of bodily fluids or raw sewage.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Therapy is Unavoidable

Every minute of every day I strive to parent my children in a way that does not drive them to therapy. I am quite sure I have already failed. I have discovered now that #2 is on this earth and I am an expert (cause I have two now, so that automatically qualifies me) that no matter what I do, I am mentally apologizing to my children. I feel that I need to get these apologies down in black and white, so that in twenty years, when these two babes of mine are sitting in front of their virtual therapists in the colony on the moon they will no doubt live in, they can access this blog in a data file on their computer watches and know that I tried. I tried really hard. 

First Born: 
I am sorry it took me 4 years to give you a sibling.
Second Born: 
I am sorry you will never know what it is to be an only child.

First Born:
I am sorry that we made you feel like the world revolved around you for 4 years then thrust another little person into your spotlight.
Second Born:
I am sorry that you will never know what it is like to be by yourself in our spotlight.

First Born:
I am sorry we only ever gave you warmed bottles. I am even more sorry that you believe to this day milk can only be enjoyed warm.
Second Born: 
I am sorry you only get cold bottles. I am sorry you had to realize quickly if you didn't eat it cold then you weren't going to eat it at all.

First Born:
I am sorry we spend so much more time paying attention to brother. He is often on the verge of trying to kill himself with non baby approved things and must be attended to constantly.
Second Born:
I am sorry your sister gets more of our attention. She is older and requires more discipline, more discussion, more entertainment. The only thing she seems to require less of is food.

First Born:
I am sorry I failed to introduce you to more exciting and adventurous foods. I never added any spices or herbs to anything, and now you hate anything that is different. 
Second Born: 
I am sorry I have not made you homemade baby food to match each stage of development. I am sorry all of your food squeezes out of a pouch.

First Born:
I am sorry we never let you cuddle in our bed and it took you three years to realize a bed was for sleeping. I am sorry we were always so worried that we would make you a bad sleeper that we were really strict about your schedule and your sleeping environment.
Second Born:
I am sorry I have led you to believe the best place to sleep is in the car seat. I am sorry we never work around your schedule and your sleep always is an after thought. 

First Born:
I am sorry we didn't expose you to more gender neutral toys. You were like 2.5 before you had a ball.
Second Born:
I am sorry the majority of your toys are pink. Thank you for loving My Little Pony's, pink tea pots, and Barbies.

First Born:
I am sorry you will never know what it is to not be the first, the leader, the oldest.
Second Born:
I am sorry you will always follow someone. I am sorry you will always be younger and expected to go with the flow. 

At least they have each other...maybe they can
 get a group rate at therapy someday.
I know there will be  a million more things I apologize for to these two over their lifetime. I really am doing my best, but as a parent it seems that no matter what I do, the guilt is real and it is ever-present. Someday, they will both have children and will understand that I really was trying hard. It is inevitable that we feel like we are failing our children in some way, little or big, pretty much every minute of the day. Most days I feel like it is a win if everyone is fed, alive, and moderately happy. 

Kids...obviously, there are no right answers and you are both ruined, so at least you will have each other to commiserate over how your parents screwed you up. Bam. Guess I did something right after all. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vacation: The Evolution of a Relationship

Oh Vacation, we used to have a good thing going. Remember? Me and you. Relaxing together in the sun. Things have just changed between us in the last 5 years. What happened, you ask me with a sad face? Kids happened. And like any good marriage, it totally changed our relationship. I still love you, but I don't always like you.

Let me outline the ways we have grown apart, my sweet vacation.

Then: The biggest bag I could find, usually more appropriate for a 3 month trip across the sea, filled with anything and everything I could ever need for one week at the beach. 
Now: The smallest bag that will fit the bare necessities. Car space is a serious commodity, and I also have to fit three other people's bags in the car. And pretty much everything needed to keep them alive and not crying for a week. Which is a lot. Somehow this year I forgot flip flops. For my beach trip. Disgraceful. It was probably because I was so worried about remembering everything else in the world we could ever need. 

Then: Me whizzing down the highway, singing along to my six disc changer and stopping for quick food, drink, and bathroom breaks as needed.
Now: Hubs and I sitting in the front seat, trying to enjoy some grownup radio and intelligent conversation. The big child in the back singing/talking/playing DVDs loudly/making annoying mouth sounds. The little child in the back either sleeping soundly or screaming. I do get to practice car yoga, where I twist and turn to either feed a bottle, reinsert a paci, get snacks, or reach the unreachable. Good news, workout for the week is done. 

Pool Time
Then: Lying about, tanning and reading a book. Floating in the pool. Looking at magazines. Chatting with friends. 
Now: Attempting to keep an overzealous 4 year old who thinks she is an Olympic swimmer from drowning while I entertain a 6 month old in his float. Also, when depth permits, I must watch 7369 handstands and throw various dive toys for retrieval. I am able to indulge in sporadic conversations with my sister in law about parenting challenges, what we like to cook for dinner, and how much it costs to color the gray out of one's hair. Also, there are sporadic conversations with my husband reminding him to please not let the girl child drown. 

Beach Time 
Then: Me on a chair getting a tan and enjoying the calm and peaceful sounds of the waves. 
Now: It's a toss up. Half the time is spent hovering near sleeping baby under the tent, watching all the kids play and wishing I hadn't forgotten my kindle. The other half is spent sitting in a tidal pool with a tankini bottom full of sand and one hand on the baby so he doesn't go face first into the lukewarm fish pee water. 

Dinner Out
Then: A late dinner enjoying pricey seafood, wine, beer, and dessert. Buzzed conversation and heady laughter. 
Now: An early dinner with one child who screams when the food isn't hitting his face at mock speed and another who circles the table like a vulture with a handful of french fries. Then we eat as fast as possible and leave apologizing for the massive amounts of food, broken crayons, and silverware on the floor. There is wine and beer, but it doesn't dull the pain.

The Beach Bag
Then: A cute small bag filled with two books (just in case I finish the first one), a few magazines, a bottle of spf 8 tanning oil and a bottle of 15 tanning lotion, a pack of cigarettes, a coozie, and a towel (don't judge, it was a long time ago). 
Now: A huge bag with 17 different types of sun screen, including sticks, lotions, and sprays ranging in spf from 15 to 70, various beach toys, towels for all, a blanket, snacks, waters, the Ergo, swim diapers, regular diapers, an extra onesie, and wipes. Did I mention we also tote a boogie board, chairs, a tent, and extra large sand shovels? We really need a horse and buggy to get the two blocks. Not to mention the 22 pound baby someone has to carry.

Oh vacation, I know someday we will rekindle our passionate affair. Probably in 12-18 years when the children are only on vacation with us because we provide food and a bed. Until then, we will have to agree to disagree. I will keep visiting you, but it won't be the same and I will be crying toward the end. See you next year, when we try (and fail) again to bring the passion back. Thanks for not giving up on me.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Parenting Vows

We made vows at our wedding, promising to love and cherish and honor each other in our marriage. So far, those vows have been pretty easy for us to keep. Sickness and health. Easy. He throws a washcloth and a plastic bag through a crack in the door when I am barfing. Good times and bad? No problem. No one peaces out when we get in a fight about how to hang the curtains in the dining room. Wedding vows are a piece of cake. I purpose a new type of vow. Delivery room vows. 

Your clergy or a judge comes to the hospital to officiate right before you have the baby. He or she holds a copy of What to Expect When You are Expecting that has a picture of you together from a happy pre-child time, when you are both blissful and smiling and preferably even tan and rested, laying on top. Husband and wife together place their hands on then promise the following:

  • Her: I promise not to ask you to get up in the middle of the night to watch Law and Order with me while I feed the baby, since I am the only one with the boobs.
  • Him: I promise to take a night shift when you are no longer playing the part of the human milk machine and we are using bottles.
  • Her: I promise to not put clothes that are too small back in his drawer and then yell at you when you dress him in a onesie that won't button at the crotch and pants that look like Capris.
  • Him: I promise to not ever stand outside the bathroom door while you are pooping with a crying baby. 
  • Him: I promise to not say anything if I come home from work and you are already drinking.
  • Her: I promise to not say anything if I leave you at home with the kids on a Saturday and come home to everyone taking a nap, including you. Or everyone watching TV while you take a nap. 
  • Her: I promise to change my clothes once a day and shower regularly.
  • Him: I promise to pretend I don't notice when you are still wearing the clothes (from yesterday) that you slept in when I get home from work.
  • Her: I promise to let you occasionally have drinks after work with only minimal huffing and puffing.
  • Him: I promise to let you occasionally have girl's night with only minimal whining.
  • Her: I promise to not get mad if I come home after girl's night to you asleep on the couch and the house trashed, complete with dinner dishes still on the table and water still in the bathtub. 
  • HerI promise not to gasp, scold, or scream when you allow them to do things like ride a bike on a slight incline, take group swimming lessons, or roast marshmallows.
  • Him: I promise not to make fun of your overprotective tendencies. I will respect your concerns over fire, water, stairs, and hard candy.
  • Him: I promise to tell you how much prettier and sexier you are since you had children and say it really convincingly so you won't think I'm trying to be funny. I won't make fun of your underwear, nursing bras, hairy legs, or the fact that you are still wearing maternity leggings when the child starts preschool.
  • Her: I promise not to get mad when you take initiative and get things done with the kids and around the house, even if it is not the way I would do it. 
  • Him: I promise to take initiative. I promise not to pretend I don't know how to do something to get out of doing it.
  • Him: I promise to remember and respect the fact that another being has been touching your person for the majority of the waking hours in every day.
  • Her: I promise to remember that no one is ever touching your person. Ever. 
  • Together: We promise to always try and remember the following: why we got married in the first place, that we really do love each other, and it is ALWAYS us against them. 

This is what we should be doing. And then doing vow renewals every time we birth a new one. Promising each other that we will try our best not to hate each other during the tough parts of the parenting process. That we will respect each other's ways and not judge. That we will always do our best to keep the kids away from the bathroom door when the other is in there. That we won't complain when it is our turn to play memory and school and get our hair fixed by a toddler at 6:30am, while the other sleeps in. I think these vows would set a solid base from which to become parents. Then, when things get dicey we could look at each and smile and say, "remember babe, we took vows. You promised to help me scrape the poop out of her hair when she has a shadoob so big it explodes out of the neck of her pj's." And we will hug and laugh and happily parent away into the sunset, not killing each other. 

Look at these two. No idea what is about to hit them straight up in the face.
This is when the vows need to happen. The calm before the storm.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Balm Obsession: A Review Turned Loved Note

Let's be honest. I would buy this stuff for the little jars and
labeling alone. I am the worst consumer ever.
I am trying something new at The Lint Trap. I am going to start reviewing/showing love to things I really think are worth it. Especially stuff made by other mamas. Ladies that are doing it all...kids, lives, and following their passion. First up? The Pharmacist's Wife, Stephanie. Maker of balm, mother of females, teacher of all things of the earth. Like fermenting cabbage. And making cleaner out of oranges and vinegar.  She is tiny and adorable and educated in all things healthy and natural, and BONUS...she turns out fabulous body products as The Pharmacist's Wife. 

At my baby shower for Bear a friend gave me some of The Pharmacist's Wife signature product, The*Balm. I brought it home, threw it in my bedside table, and promptly forgot about it. A month later, when the babe was siphoning every bit of hydration from my body, I remembered I had stashed The*Balm. I pulled it out and put it on my hands at night. And it was amazing. So I started using it on my feet, which are, if I am being honest, a real situation. Ever since I traveled after college and wore flip flops for 12 months, my feet have never been the same. Cracks abound. And I have tried it all. Creams, ointments, and now Balm. I am hear to tell you, I am in love. It feels great, it smells great, and it works great. The only issue is remembering to use it. But that's my problem. I am sure y'all can do better. Happy feet, happy life. 
Grease is the Word, that you Heard

Then came baby. Though he is precious and wonderful and jolly, he came with a serious cradle cap situation. With LadyB I used olive oil, which took three baths and dawn dish soap to clean out. I decided to go a different route this time, and smeared The*Balm all over Bear's flaky head. While he did his best impression of a tubby Danny Zukko, The*Balm was doing crazy magic on his noggin. I plopped him in the tub, shampooed, and then combed his hair, and the de-flake was Ah-May-Zing. It only took two treatments and he has been cradle cap free ever since. Way better than the olive oil debacle of 2010. 

My second great love from The Pharmacist's Wife is Stink*Balm. It's a natural deodorant. Stop. I know what you are thinking. "My friend's hippie mom used that deodorant back in the day that looked like a crystal shard, and she smelled like onions and wool." This is not that. This is very very very better. This is light and smells wonderful and works astonishingly well. I discovered a few years ago that most of my friends don't wear deodorant, or they only wear natural deodorant. I was like, "say what now? No deo for the BO? Um, that's crazy talk." Mama has to wear something if she's going to be out among the people. Most of these friends stopped wearing regular deodorant when they were nursing. The baby's head was so close to their pit they felt like the chemicals were dirtying up their pure little babes. Which of course made me feel like I had ruined LadyB by nursing her in such close proximity to Secret. So I vowed to do better for number 2. Enter Stink*Balm. It is awesome. There is a trick that I didn't know that makes the natural deodorant do its best work, and that is exfoliating the pitties everyday. I now recommend this to everyone, no matter what underarm preferences are. I don't care if you are a stranger on the street. If we start talking deodorant, I will tell you to use apricot scrub every day to make them bump free and lovely. You're welcome.

I also loved the Nipple*Balm when I was nursing (a great gift!) and the Bedtime*Balm, which smells truly amazing. I use Whipped*Balm on my hands at night now. The*Balm has also worked wonders on razor burn in delicate places, done amazing things to chapped lips, and cured super dry spots on both kids.

SO. That is what I wanted to share. Follow her on Instagram (@thepharmacistswife) and Twitter. Like her on Facebook. Purchase her goodness on Etsy. (Keep in mind that this is a working mama with three childrens, so if she doesn't have something she is busy parenting, and you should check back! Not to mention her stock is so lovely it flys off the internets.) You should all become fans, followers, and users of The Pharmacist's Wife. She is another Mama who is following her passion, so let's all help her while helping ourselves. And we can smell great and stay smooth while we are doing it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Grocery Store PTSD

Once upon a time there was a little girl. When she was 4 or 5 she went with her mom to Food Lion for Shasta and Cookie Crisp. She was quietly minding her own own business by her mom at the checkout, when the bag boy pushed a cart in her direction. The corner of that cart hit her smack in the head and  knocked her out cold. PLOT TWIST...that little girl was me, y'all. And being run over by a grocery cart is my cross to bear. And my children will forever pay for that bagger's misstep. 

Everything was okay when LadyB was small. I had complete control because she was in the cart. Now, despite my best efforts to cram her into the cart seat, she declines to ride. Mostly because she doesn't fit and the bars hurt her legs, which she is ALWAYS whining about. I mean, I'm willing to push your 40 pound arse around the grocery store whilst buying food for you, and you are going to complain about a little thigh pinching? That's rich. So, now she walks. And baby either goes in the ergo or his seat goes in the big part of the cart and I stuff apples, and loaves of bread, and dog food around him. And as Toodles walks she touches and hops, and bobs and weaves, and closes her eyes, and walks backwards, and pays ZERO attention to the world around her. And that incident that happened to the little girl some 30 years ago in the Food Lion that was all but forgotten is now an open wound on my psyche. I have diagnosed myself with PTSD that is exacerbated by being anywhere with carts with my child.

I now spend my whole time at the grocery store saying 'Stop being a fool' in various ways. It is a run on sentence that sounds something like this: "Don't touch those, please watch where you are going, come walk by me, watch out for other people, stop hopping, please look up, don't knock things off the shelves, watch out for their cart, don't pick anything up, come over here, don't run, stop pushing the things to the back of the shelves, stop running, come over here, STOP DOING EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING AND HAVE BEEN DOING SINCE YOU GOT OUT OF THE CAR." By the time we are in the frozen foods I am wild eyed, screaming, and foaming at the mouth. All because my child's level of bafoonery goes up 100% when there are carts everywhere. Or maybe it's because every time she strays away I have flashbacks of the cart knocking me out, which gives me visions of one knocking her out, which gives me a panic attack. Not only do I not want my first born to carry this burden and start the cycle all over again, but I have
Look Ma, no hands! 
enough going on trying to purchase food in a timely manner with a 4 year old who doesn't listen, a baby in an ergo I am giving a bottle to, a Starbucks coffee (um, I deserve a lot more than that for doing the hunting and gathering with kids in tow) and trying to keep up with my list that is on a ratty piece of envelope that I keep sticking in different pockets, all while trying to find the best deals. {which leads me to this aside: if Hubs had to shop like this he would pay double for everything just to get out and we would be bankrupt.} 

I don't have the time or energy to deal with a maimed Honey Badger. Do you want to know how I know this? About a month ago we were shopping and it was same-old-same-old. I whisper scream for her to stop acting like a crazy person and she blatantly ignores me.  And with a crowd of thousands waiting in line to checkout with nothing to stare at besides me failing as a parent, she starts hopping between tiles and she slips and falls. Right in front of the meal deal case. And she starts screaming and crying and carrying on like she broke her ankle. And everyone stares. And I start sweating. Awesome. But the best part is she then wanted to be carried because she is an overly dramatic person who can exploit weakness and she knows I hate a scene. So I pick her up, mostly to get away from the lookey-lous, with what little dignity I have left, and I trudge off carrying a 40 lb shrieking and sobbing child. Then I carry her for the next two aisles while I push a cart with my monstrous baby in his huge carrier in it all while shopping. It was heinous. I can't do it again. I can't. I'll die. 

So yesterday, Lady B was acting like a tap dancer on crack having a dance off with an imaginary friend, while I was trying to buy my K-cups. You gave to understand that this is the most important 3 minutes of my whole trip. Coffee is my thing. No schwag Folgers crap, it's gotta be good. But it has to be the best deal. I have to study the options. And because she almost gets hit by a cart for the 367 time just this trip, I have a psychotic break and yell at her, really loud. I'm not proud that someone's sweet grandma picking out her Nescafe had to witness me giving my child a tongue lashing, but it happened. And it happened again by the baked beans. And a third time in the Popsicles. I. Can't. Take. It. But I don't know how to make her stop acting like an animal that has never been off its leash when we are there. Not taking her is not an option 99% of the time. 

So I'm open to suggestions. She's not being bad on purpose. She just can't seem to control herself. She is in her own world doing her own thing, which usually involves paying zero attention to old men with cataracts driving in little rascal carts who just want their aspercream and earl gray and Cheetos. Or the lady in a suit who obviously has seven minutes to buy two weeks worth of groceries and is sprinting while throwing things in her cart. They aren't watching for little girls who are reorganizing the Gatorades, and she is oblivious to the fact there is anyone even in the store with us. So I must remain ever vigilant that my firstborn doesn't end up on the floor with cart wheel tracks across her back and a dent in her skull. This duty really slows down my food buying. It takes us like an hour and a half when it should be 45 min tops. But vigilant I shall remain, in honor go that little girl, laying on the dusty floor at Food Lion, right by the locked cigarette cases and quarter machines with bouncy balls. I will not let my child experience this horror. Even if it means getting a prescription of Xanax so that I can grocery shop without ending up in the fetal position by the organic yams, rocking and crying. 

I think I am going to either put everyone on a diet, start living off the land, or order my groceries for the next 5 years.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Life Ain't Easy. Ever.

We have two kids now. That is twice the laundry, twice the attention needed, twice the work. And it's not easy. It's manageable and we are not falling apart, but at the end of most days, I feel like I have given all I have to give. And the amazing thing is, I felt like that a lot when I had just one child. I even can remember feeling like that back when I had no kids and a full time job. You know what that says to me? It's all hard. No matter what we are doing, it is hard and we are tired, and everyone should be treated as such. Life is life. We are all doing our best every day to survive. 

I think it is so easy for people with more the one kid to look at families with just one child and say, "they have no idea how easy they have it. It's two on one. They can tag out when they can't take it anymore. It is so much harder with two." And I promise for every couple with two saying that, there is a couple with three or more saying the same thing about the family with two. And the parents of the singleton are looking at the ones with no kids that are working full time jobs and saying basically the same thing. It is human nature to think we have it harder than the next guy. But I don't really think that is true. The saying "life ain't easy" is a saying for a reason. Cause it for real ain't easy. It is messy and hard and we are all going through trials and situations that add stress to everyday toughness. 

I was talking to a mom friend and we were discussing the fact that she and her husband had  made a decision to do no screen time for their son until he was two. I was commending her, and said that was out the window as soon as we realized our child loved TV and would sit and watch a whole episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when she was one, giving me a whole 26 minutes to actually do something.  She said, "but it is easy for me to do because I am not working from home like you." And my comment back to her was this..."it is hard to be a work from home mom, but nothing we as moms do is easy. It's all hard in different ways." 

We should all stop judging each other and appreciate that we are all in different spaces. And every space has hard parts and easy parts. I am just as guilty as the next person of thinking how much harder my life is than the next person's. But it really isn't. Just remember, even Beyoncé and Jay Z have the moment where they decide, do I let her watch another episode of Mickey Mouse? Just one more so I can breathe for a second? Even famous people and rich people and people who rule the world have to make choices and decisions and are doing the best they can.

So go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You are doing a great job. Sure, you mess up sometimes. You yell when you should take a deep breath. You give them cake when they should be eating an apple. You remember back to the easier times, and wish just for one second that it was 2003 again and the biggest decision of the day was who was going to pick up dinner. And that's okay. Remind yourself that every day is hard for everyone. Cause no matter who you are, life ain't easy, friends. 


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

See the Boss. Bringing Your Rhythm is Optional.

Last week we went to see an awesome concert. You might have heard of him?? Bruce Springsteen. Hubs and I love a good concert, and he has been on our See-them-live Bucket List. We missed him when he came to a few years ago, and when the opportunity came up to see him, Hubs got me tickets for my birthday/anniversary gift. Well, done Boo. Well. Done.

I felt like I would be remiss not to give you my thoughts on the show... (you know you want to know.)

1. Boss fans are hard core. So hardcore they like to show it on their person. I have never seen so many concert t-shirts at a concert. Hubs made it a punch-bug game. Every time we saw someone with a Springsteen tee we punched the other one. It was a great way to keep things hopping while weaving through the crowds. My arm does hurt today. Never fear, I purchased me own merch, so I will be one of the cool kids if we ever go again.
Mama's ready, y'all. I now can wear The Boss,
stretched across my bosom at a moment's notice.

(Can you tell LadyB is the only one in the house with a full-length mirror?)
2. Springsteen appeals to a certain crowd. Like the white-over-50 crowd. I have been to a few live shows in my day. One of my favorite people to see live is Billy Joel, so I am familiar with this strata of music lover. However, this show took that to a new level. Looking out across the dancing crowd, we were among the youngest in our section. There was a grandma behind me that looked like she was a librarian or the receptionist for a church. I know she has a collection of plates with kittens on them. But she knew every word to every song. And she never took her face off Bruce the entire show. She just swayed in place, staring adoringly, while mouthing the words, her sweet old lady hands folded under her chin. I hope to be that cool when I am wearing elastic waisted jeans and a sweater with the undershirt built in. 

3. While #2 is true, Springsteen does have pull with the youngsters. There were quite a few little kids there, who no doubt have grown up listening to his music in their parent's minivans. I didn't really notice the husband/wife in front of us until their young college-ish daughter came up to sit with them for the last 25 minutes of the show. She and her daddy danced and sang and jumped and hugged. It was awesome and obvious that one of the things that bond these two who are so different is their love of this music. I hope LadyB and Hubs have a few bands like that. He is hoping for Widespread. I think he should take what he can get. (Though it is possible, her noodleing skills are top notch).

4. Springsteen played for 2 hours and 48 minutes. Most bands half his age don't do that. And apparently that was on the short side for him. It was a thursday night, which was a little rough it being a school night and all, but we lasted all the way to the end. The tickets are pricey, but he does give you your money's worth. He is a spirited and sprightly man--he danced his way all over that stage, and out through the crowd quite often. He must have to ice his entire body after every show. I also suspect after seeing some of his moves that he may practice the Yoga.

5. The Boss's wife, Mrs. Boss, is the smartest woman in show business. Best way to keep your eye on your husband while he is touring? You go with him. Like, all the way onto the stage. Genius. Hard to have a wandering eye when your wife is in your field of vision, literally 12 feet away. Well played, Patti.

6. You don't have to know all the songs to enjoy the show. I knew at best every three to four, until the end when he rocked a lot of his old ones. Didn't matter. The crowd energy and show made up for it. You don't have to be an obsessed fan to enjoy the show. And if you need entertainment when he is playing something obscure, there are plenty of stare-itis opportunities to keep you happy.

7. If you go, and you have a modicum of rhythm, you will probably be the best dancer in your section. Because of the crowd, (old white people) the dancing/clapping scene is painful. Even times when the whole venue was rocking, every person in the crowd was clapping and swaying and bouncing to the beat of a different drummer. Certainly not Max up on the stage. But what they lacked in rhythm they made up for with torrid enthusiasm. Though hard to watch with a straight face, you have to appreciate that they all knew every word and were not afraid to express themselves through dance. Awkward dance, but dance nonetheless.

8. We drank close to $60 worth of alcohol. Him, beer. Me liquor drinks. That has nothing to do with anything, I just feel that it should be noted because that is highway robbery. Shame on you RBC center. Not to mention we had to pay $20 to park. Seriously. $20. Insanity. And that wasn't valet. That was park and walk a bit. For $20 they should drop me off, take it to get washed while I see the show, then pick me back up.

Yes, all the things you hear about seeing the Boss live are true. Don't be alarmed when you go (of course you'll go, you should always take my advice, duh) and hear everyone booing. They are actually yelling "Bruce." It is confusing to a first timer. If you want to be able to touch him, sit in the front section because he booty shook and sashayed all through there. And if you really want to be prepared, go online and order a t-shirt off E-Bay for a show that happened in 1987. Wear is and then dance on the off beat and everyone will think you are an old pro.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Disney...The Facts No One Tells You

So, Disney World. It is an intense vacation. It's not like driving to the beach, staying in a house, and driving home. You have to know things. And pay attention to details. I am not much of a detail person. I am more of a show up, have fun, and leave kind of person. I am the baby. Everyone knows the last born is never to be trusted with making any kind of important decisions. We have spent our whole lives with other people telling us what to do. I married an oldest child for a reason. I don't do decisions for a group. It makes me sweat and heavy breathe. What if everyone hates it and gets mad at me? What if I pick the wrong meal plan? What if I choose the wrong hotel? (Which I did, and the one time I let my dad in on the process he changed where we were staying and upgraded us so that was actually a win.) What if I get the dates wrong and tell the whole family we are going on Monday, but our reservations aren't really until Tuesday? Oh wait, I did do that last thing. We spent all day on Saturday getting ready to go. Haircuts, shoe shopping, last minute run for snacks. We up early Sunday and as we are finishing up packing, I happen to glance at the carefully made itinerary packet Corby put together. And happen to glance at the date of check in. Tuesday. Wait, what? Tuesday. Check 7345 more times. Look at my calendar. Check 2690 more times. Then calmly and quietly tell Anthony that we were actually supposed to be leaving Monday. And then calmly call my father and tell him we would be there a day late. Then, the worst part of all, tell the child that mommy had the days wrong and we really weren't leaving for Disney until the next day. She put her head in her hands and said, "you've got to be kidding me." Wish I was, baby girl. Then we took her out for guilt pancakes and promised her we really were leaving the next day. I am just thankful we didn't get to our hotel to discover we actually didn't have reservations yet. I would have died. Thankfully, it was the only true snafu.

Below is a little list of "facts" that I learned during our time in Disney. There are things we loved, things we would do different, things we would skip, things we would make time for. But what I have compiled below are things no one thinks to tell you. Or maybe they do, but they just forget to tell me. 

She is posing like she is a model on Star Search.
Please notice the kiss on Van's head from that
minx Snow White.
1.   Fact: The Bibbity Bobbity Boutique (BBB) is not for the faint of heart. It's basically pricey little endeavor that transforms your sweet little girl into a contestant on Toddlers and Tiaras. Imagine if Honey Booboo and a caboodle full of Wet n Wild and LA Looks  had a baby. Also, it was emotionally overwhelming for our girl. She was so intent on being a big girl and holding it together she was a hot mess after we left. Basically a fairy Godmother (in our case a lovely young girl in a maiden's frock and hipster black glasses named Sierra) gives the little "princess" a complete makeover including an updo with optional hairpiece (which we got, of course), makeup, nails, face stickers and lots of fairy dust (glitter. everywhere.). Once Her Highness determined Sierra was not going to actually cut her hair, only fix it, she relaxed. There was minimal crying when the bun hurt a little, but the real tears came at the big reveal. She took one look at that big, teased up white bun and started bawling. Sierra handled like a champ and took another five minutes mashing it back down while the princess whimpered. I was torn between being proud that she was horrified, and sad that she didn't love it. She recovered and left all smiles. We probably won't do it the next time we go, but I think she has fond memories. And she loves that damn white and blue hair weave.  

2.   Fact: The people who Disney employs to be in charge of the character meet and greet lines must have to pass a test proving that they are stone cold emotionless in the face of sobbing children. Both times we went to see Mary Poppins we missed that fool woman by mere seconds. Then it happened again with Pluto. None of the line people even flinched when my sweet child started crying. They are no joke. Hard. Core. Don't bother pleading or making sad eyes. They don't care. Seriously. Not a bit. There only concern is making sure their character doesn't pee his furry suit or stroke out in the heat.

3.   Fact: WDW is very baby friendly. Stroller parking everywhere. Almost all the rides that we went on Baby Bear went on too. I even fed him in Mickey's Philharmagic and on Spaceship Earth. I seriously hope there were not any cameras or the security people got to see full boob. Much like the group of middle school boys who happened to stroll by when I was feeding him in the shade while everyone else rode Haunted Mansion. Babe pulled back to yell at me mid-meal and I wasn't fast enough. Let's just say those boys went home men. He was quite the trooper for the whole trip. If anyone asks about taking a baby to Disney, I tell them the truth. He was the easiest to make happy out of everyone in our party.

4.  Fact: The more reservations you have, the more stressful your trip is. We planned left for Orlando an hour and a half late, (right on time for anyone in my family). Or course we arrived at the hotel late and had to speed to our reservation at The Rainforest Cafe. Apparently they are used to harried mothers running up with a look of desperation, apologizing for being an hour late, because they sat us immediately. We had a lovely dinner amidst the gorillas and thunderstorms, and ate an amazing dessert called The Volcano which I ate until I thought I would die. The first morning we had an 8:40am reservation at the BBB for the full hooker Princess makeover, and then 10:05 reservation to have breakfast at Cinderella castle. The night before I was frantically making sure we were 100% ready.  Laying out clothes, packing the backpack with all essentials, double checking times. And because she chose to take her Elsa dress to her makeover and because she is adverse to any of the cheap netting touching her skin, I had to cut the long sleeves off her dress. Yes, you read that right. I was the mom at the front desk of the hotel at 10:30pm hacking the sleeves off of a dress that is currently selling on eBay for at least double. We had a reservation at Chef Mickey for the Mickey and friends meet and greet at 5pm for the second night. Our plan was to return to the hotel mid afternoon, rest, and head upstairs for an early dinner, and then go back to the park. That was all great except we didn't get back until about 3:30 and meltdown was imminent. I attempted to change the reservations, but there were none to be had. I was fairly certain the concierge was smirking at me when I asked him to call and check, but whatevs. So we let Her Highness sleep for an hour then we went and hoped for the best. Sometimes a little nap is worse than no nap, but thankfully seeing her large dancing furry friends and eating chicken nuggets and a huge brownie was enough to pull her through. I am not saying to not do things that take reservations, but just keep in mind the timetable can be a little, uh, stressful. Especially when dealing with a fickle four year old. 

5. Fact: Seeing my kid meet all the characters and princesses
Her smile says it all. She loves those vermin.
was awesome. If you are in a Disney movie, more than likely she knows and loves you. 
We enjoyed an overly salted breakfast in Cinderella Castle and it was totally worth being dehydrated the rest of the day to watch my girl's excitement while meeting her princess heroes. She was awestruck at first, but by the end she was charming them. We waited in line for only about fifteen minuets and we got a one-on-one meet and greet with The Mouse. HB was completely awestruck. It makes sense considering her entire life, since the age of 6 months, has been been building to the exact moment she got to hug Mickey. She almost wet her pants waiting to hug Chip and Dale. Literally. We waited in long lines to meet Rapunzel and Belle and Daisy. She carried her little pink autograph book and passed many a minute waiting in various lines talking about and gazing at the autographs. Don't stress about the lines for meeting the characters. If that's what they want to do, let them do it. It is not everyday that Jasmine hands you a bag of extra special fairy dust or you see Alice in Wonderland. 

6.  Fact: Even though they are at freaking Disney World, sometimes all the kids want to do is swim in the pool. And that's okay. Or they want to sit and color a mask in Epcot that you can buy in the dollar bin at Target. Or they just want to ride the monorail. Or they just want to rest in their stroller. And it's all okay. Having that much fun and excitement is hard work. Halfway through the first day, HB was fried. She asked to go back to the pool three times. Finally we relented and that afternoon we had a great time watching her do the water slide over and over. At first it was hard to go back to the hotel when we had only been in Magic a Kingdom for 4 hours, but doing that enabled us to go back in after dinner and last through the nighttime parade. Totally worth the break. 

7.  Fact: Waiting in line can be confusing. For our first ride we got in line to ride the carousel post BBB makeover. She immediately saw a decked out purple horse and proclaimed that it would be hers. Except another little girl got to it first. Cue the crying and wailing. And then a rude woman snagged the other one she wanted, and there was more screaming. I wrestled her into the chariot that no one wanted so the ride could start, and spent the full two minutes trying not to barf while I held her down and attempted to explain the process. Waiting in line, getting what we get, and that we could do it as more than once. While we waited in line the second time, she cried when the ride started. I finally figured out that she thought she was missing it. Point taken. Make sure to explain to your kids that the rides run over and over again. I was almost in tears at this point considering this was the first ride of a long three days of riding rides. There was not enough patience in the world to survive that. Then we went on "It's a Small World." Halfway through the ride she looked at me and said, "this is the best moment of my life." And that my friends, is why you take your chilruns to Disney. After she got the whole "waiting in line" bit down, she was good. We did catch her licking the handrails, and that was kind of gross. More for the lady who was staring at her doing it and less for me, who has seen the Badger do way worse.

8. Fact: There is a lot of crying at the happiest place on earth. I actually loved the sound of other people's kids crying. It made me feel better when mine was losing her mind. Post BBB there were 4236 mood swings. Apparently having your hair in a tight ass bun can make you unpredictable and volatile. And that was just day one. They all freak out at some point, if not many points. It's really okay. In the line for the Belle meet and greet you end up standing in a tiny "cottage." There was a boy in there with us who was screaming and crying like he was waiting to watch Mrs. Potts murder Belle. His mom had him in a corner doing that thing we all do where you get in your kid's face and whisper scream in such an intense fashion you are both sweating and heavy breathing. I wanted to hug them both. With the amount of emotional overload and high energy fun, parents must mentally prepare for the intense emotional swings. Enjoy walking through the park and listening to other people's crying children. That's the sound of a great trip.

Disney is amazing. Way better then when you went as a kid. Because you are experiencing it through your child's eyes. And in the words of my girl, "this is the best time I have ever had in my life." Don't stress and go with the flow. Kids know what they do and don't want to do. Follow their lead. Don't freak when they want a ten dollar balloon or when they want ice cream for lunch or when they just want to ride the same ride five times. What happens in Disney stays in Disney. Except the $10 balloon. That rides all the way home and then their dad accidentally pops it unpacking the car. Or the BBB hairpiece. When you unzip the suitcase that jumps out and gives you a heart attack because you think an electric blue and white rodent has stowed away in your child's bag. 

Take your kids to Disney. You won't be sorry. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Abandoning The Everything: My Messy Beautiful Epiphany

We can't have it all. We can't do it all. We can't be it all.  Ladies. We. Can't. Have. It. All. It is not possible. 


There, I said it for all of us. I feel so much better now. The ones who are saying it is possible to have it all and not have your head blow off are flat out lying. All of my friends, especially the ones who work, are frazzled, tired, and unsure of how they are making it through each day alive. So who are these "I'm doing it all, no problemo, people"? I am always trying to do it all, and I am always failing at it miserably. Like nursing the baby in the car waiting for preschool to dismiss while I answer emails and make a grocery list. Then I get milk all over my phone, send a half finished email by accident, drop the grocery list when I was rush up the stairs to get Honey Badger, and I am still late. I am not sure why anyone would tell this life ruining lie, but they do. And I am over it. I reject being The Everything. 

I am the proud owner of two kids, one part time job, one insanely messy house, one insanely messy car, one husband, one blog, and one group of various and sundry friends that for some reason continue to ask me to hang out with them even though I have to say 'no' all too often. I am all up in the volunteer scene at preschool (I can only assume it is similar to being on the board of a fancy art museum, but with more book sales and bulletin boards, and less cocktail parties. Same-same.) I am supposed to be cooking for my family, and teaching my child about things like planting a garden and what recycling is and how to tie her shoes, but instead we eat at Jason's Deli and I let her watch Frozen on repeat, and count on preschool for the educating. It doesn't feel great. But we are all still alive, full, and entertained so, go me.

Last week I was sitting at my desk at work with Baby Bear laying in my lap nursing while I typed away. I had this crazy out of body moment, where I floated up to the ceiling and saw myself working my arse off at  everything I was doing at that exact second. Including pounding a venti Starbucks coffee, which is the only thing keeping me moving forward and not laying face down on the floor of life. I am at that stage of mommying where I am not sleeping and my house looks like a gaggle of four year olds had a two week princess rave and my sink is more full than my cabinets. Where do the days go? How am I not getting anything done? Being a work from home mom was supposed to make life easier. Um, not so much. Fulfilling? Absolutely. Exhausting? For sure. But never, ever easy.

A smart woman once told me that the feminist movement made things harder for mothers. A truth in so many ways. At first it was all bra-burning and speeches and striving for equality. Now it has turned into mothers have to be The Everything. We think since we earned the right to be badasses, we have to be badasses. At all the things. Wife. Mother. Cook. Employee. Friend. Diaper Changer. Nose Wiper. Volunteer. Party Planner. And I am tired. I can't do The Everything and be everything to everyone. And we have to do it all, perfect and alone. But I don't want to do everything. I certainly can't be everywhere and take care of everyone. And the last thing I want is to be alone doing all of this. I am certainly not badass enough for all that.

So let's stop. Stop trying to do everything. Stop trying to be everything for everyone. It's gonna be okay. Just stop. I am not anti-feminist. What I am is anti-you have to do it all to be a real woman. I am pro-happy mom. I am pro-helping others. I am pro-letting others help you. As women we often don't, won't, or can't ask each other for help.  It feels like we are upsetting the balance of the universe. Well, I think the universe may a need a little unbalancing. Helping is how we show each other, "hey, I am in this life with you. I want you to be your best self and you can't do it alone. Me neither." Let's stop being martyrs and start being friends. Is the perception of being "the one who does it all" really that important? That we would forgo our peace and sanity just to be the one who makes every snack, does every tuck in, and clean every toilet? Nope. Can't do it. People in my life, please help me. Let me help you. Let's be feminists who help each other. And feminists who accept help from others. That's the kind of feminist I'm interested in being. 

I often find myself hanging by a thread, being pulled by all the responsibility hanging off my ankles. Someone throws up in my shoe, and someone else breaks a plate, and then it is bedtime and no one is asleep, but I still have work to finish and lunches to pack and oh yeah, we have the letter pail. On and on and on it goes. Then I talk to my best friend and we laugh. And my husband does the laundry. And I make plans trade babysitting with a friend. And I know that I am not in this alone. And I remember that I don't have to be The Everything to be Something. 

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project  over on Momastery.— To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!


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